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The Daily Vertical: Myths, Lies, And A Crime (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

It was a theft based upon a lie.

It was a crime justified by a myth.

It violated international law, it upended the norms of international behavior, and it opened the door to a much more dangerous world.

It was the first forceful seizure of a country's territory in Europe since World War II.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

And it happened three years ago this week.

And after all that's happened in the past few years, it's easy to lose sight of the magnitude of Russia's forceful and illegal annexation of Crimea.

It's fallen off the international agenda. A passive acquiescence has set in that it is the new normal.

It's become common to talk about things like a "border" between Ukraine and Crimea when -- as far as international law goes -- no such border exists.

And after all the Kremlin disinformation and propaganda, it's easy for many to buy into the Kremlin's lies and myths.

There's the myth that Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia -- which conveniently ignores the fact that hundreds of thousands of Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians on the peninsula certainly did not.

There's the myth that Crimeans freely voted for annexation in a referendum -- which conveniently ignores that they voted after an invasion with a gun to their heads.

And there's the brazen lie that ethnic Russians were being persecuted by the authorities in Kyiv -- something that has absolutely no basis whatsoever in fact.

Three years ago this week, Russia stole a piece of Ukraine's territory.

And the world has not been the same since.

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